The first Australian cricket side to officially tour England, the 1868 indigenous team, will be recognised on Friday when Aboriginal flags are flown at cricket headquarters across Australia. The move will celebrate the 139th anniversary of the trip, which James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, said marked the first time a sporting team had competed under a national Australian banner.
"The 1868 Aboriginal tour of England was a critical event in Australia's sporting and cricket history," Sutherland said. "In recent years, the remarkable and courageous achievements of the 1868 team have become more widely acknowledged and celebrated, and we would like that history and recognition to be ongoing."
The flags will fly at CA and state and territory associations' offices or grounds to remember the squad that arrived in England on May 13, 1868. In 2002, the team was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and two years later individual player numbers were given to each member of the touring party.
The Australians played 47 matches on their five-month visit, winning 14, losing 14 and drawing 19. The squad, which used breaks in play to entertain the English crowds with boomerang and spear displays, lost one member to tuberculosis during the trip.
Jason Gillespie, the great-grandson of a Kamilaroi warrior, remains the only acknowledged indigenous Australian Test cricketer despite CA's efforts to promote the game with the Imparja Cup, the annual national all-indigenous cricket competition. The National Indigenous Development Squad will gather in Darwin later this month for a week-long training camp that will include matches against the Fiji and Papua New Guinea national sides.
National Indigenous Development Squad Peter O'Callaghan (ACT), Ryan Bulger (ACT), Farren Lamb (NSW), Cameron Rosser (NSW), Desmond Hector (NT), David Parrington (NT), Bradley Stout (Qld), Preston White (Qld), Worrin Williams (Qld), Matthew Stopp (SA), Nathan Peters (Tas), Tyrone Bean (Vic), Barry Firebrace (Vic), Jamie Bennell (WA), Wayne Norman (WA).